Age of Empires: Online, the game that brings the classic strategy civilization-building series to the free-to-play format, will no longer be releasing new content.
Gas Powered Games and Microsoft Studios explained that their decision to halt active development was due to their financial situation. "Why no more content?" says the game's official blog. "Because creating top-tier content, as we have been for the last year and a half, is very expensive—too expensive to maintain for long, as it turns out. We can no longer afford to keep creating it. AOEO already has a very large amount of high-quality, hand-crafted entertainment, and adding more is no longer cost-effective."
However, the announcement also makes it quite clear that this doesn't mean Age of Empires: Online is going away. For current players, nothing will change, as all existing content will remain. Gas Powered Games and Microsoft Studios will continue to support the game and host community events. However, "Fixing any remaining bugs and addressing balance issues will be slower and, frankly, more difficult for the team. Some may, in fact, be unfixable," states the blog post.
Though AoE: Online will remain for now, it's difficult to see the game being able to sustain itself for much longer. The life of a MMO, especially a free-to-play one, is heavily reliant on new content to re-energize veteran players and entice new players into playing. Hopefully, AoE: Online will see some better days.